IMB reports 30% piracy drop as Nigeria’s Deep Blue project kicks in

Pottengal Mukundan
Pottengal Mukundan

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has reported a drop in piracy attacks in Nigeria’s teritorial waters in the third quarter of 2019.

Mr Isichei Osamgbi, Head, Corporate Communications, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), quoted IMB as saying in its latest report that piracy in Nigeria’s waters reduced from 41 attacks in 2018 to 29 in 2019, representing nearly 30 per cent year-on-year reduction.

“This is as the Deep Blue Project, a comprehensive maritime security architecture initiated by the NIMASA in collaboration with the military and other security agencies, comes into operation.

“The piracy reporting body also said there was a decrease in global piracy incidents during the first nine months of 2019, compared with the corresponding period in 2018,” the report said.

According to Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB, a specialised division of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), 119 incidents have been reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Center in 2019, compared to 156 incidents for the same period in 2018.

He said that overall, the 2019 incidents included 95 vessels boarded, 10 vessels fired upon, 10 attempted attacks, and four vessels hijacked.

He said that from the report, the number of crew taken hostage through the first nine months had declined from 112 in 2018 to 49 in 2019.

He, however, said that piracy and armed robbery attacks remained a challenge in the Gulf of Guinea.

“The decline in piracy and armed robbery attacks on vessels came as the Deep Blue Project, Nigeria’s Integrated Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, began to yield results.

“The project is handled by an Israeli firm, Homeland Security International (HLSI).

“It involves the training of field and technical operatives drawn from the various strata of the security services and NIMASA as well as acquisition of assets to combat maritime crime, such as fast intervention vessels, surveillance aircraft, and other facilities.

“It also involved the establishment of a command and control centre for data collection and information sharing to aid targeted enforcement,” Osamgbi said in a statement.

It added that the Deep Blue Project was aimed at building a formidable integrated surveillance and security architecture that would broadly combat maritime crime and criminalities in Nigeria’s waterways up to the Gulf of Guinea.

It said that the timing of the IMB report also coincided with the conclusion of the Global Maritime Security Conference (GMSC 2019) hosted by Nigeria, and coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation and NIMASA, under the theme, “Managing and Securing our Waters.”

It added that with the stated objective of, among others, defining the nature and scope of coordinated responses to maritime insecurity in relation to interventions, the conference enabled global maritime leaders to review the progress made in the fight against maritime crime while charting strategies for the future. (NAN)

– Oct 18, 2019 @ 17:25 GMT |

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